Casco garage fire closes Route 11, spares home

FIGHTING THE FLAMES — Area fire departments put out a garage fire at a property off Route 11, also known as Poland Springs Road, around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30. The fire was contained to the garage, and the incident closed down Route 11 for about three hours. (Photo courtesy of Casco Fire & Rescue Department Facebook)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Less than two weeks after his garage burned to the ground, the former chief of the Casco Fire Department said he has nothing but high praise for the area fire departments.

Norman Judkins is thankful, too, that the weather played a part in the garage fire not spreading to homes nearby.

“Couldn’t have any better luck. There was no wind that night, no wind heading toward my house or my neighbor’s house,” Judkins said Wednesday morning.

“You couldn’t ask for better conditions to have a fire of that magnitude,” Judkins said. “We could’ve lost my neighbor’s home if sparks had gone over there.”

After calling 911, Casco was the first to get to his property and Judkins was there in the yard to help uncoil the hoses and get the water going until the next first responder was on the scene.

“In no time the rest of the guys” arrived at his property located 340 Poland Springs Road.

“Naples — I’ve said this before: I don’t know how they got there so fast,” Judkins said.

“I have all the praise in the world for the guys and all the departments that helped. I was glad none of the guys were hurt and it went smoothly,” he said.

He described what happened the night his garage burned.

“The first truck in, of course, the ambulance showed up first, just policy. The first truck in had I knew the operator. We pulled a 2-1/2 inch line off the truck and whatnot. We made the first attack with the 2-1/2 — just him and I, totally against the rules,” he said.

“As soon as someone else came in and took our place, they had the gear for it, I backed right out and played the civilian,” Judkins said.

When Casco Deputy Chief Brian Cole pulled up to the property off Route 11, the garage, which was about 35 to 40 feet from the home, was fully-engulfed in flames.

“When we arrived, the garage was heavily-involved in fire. We couldn’t go in. There was too much fire and it was a lightweight construction building,” said Cole, who was the officer in command during this emergency call to the property of Casco’s former fire chief.

“We couldn’t go in. There was too much fire and it was a lightweight construction building,” Cole said, adding there was a concern about flammable materials typically stored in garages.

“Based on everyone’s garage, it is always dangerous,” he said.

Still, the Casco Fire and Rescue Department — along with mutual aid from neighboring towns — was able to get the Nov. 30 garage fire under control within an hour.

The call to dispatch came in at 6 p.m.; and the fire was officially under control at 7:03 p.m., Cole said.

However, that section of Route 11 was shut down to traffic for about three hours.

According to Assistant Chief Holly Hancock, the fire departments of Casco, Naples, Raymond, Poland and Bridgton worked together for several hours to extinguish the fire.

“Otisfield provided station coverage for Casco,” she said.

“It was not an attached garage. So, the fire was just to the garage, the house was not affected,” Hancock said.

“Route 11 was shut down because we had trucks and tank trunks in the road,” she said.

Hancock “was out in the road, running an engine.”

According to Cole, the driveway was not very long, giving the department little room for the fire apparatuses, which prompted the complete closure of Route 11.

“We greatly appreciated the mutual aid departments that assisted us,” Cole said.

At this point in time, the State Fire Marshall’s Office has not yet determined the cause of the fire, he said.

Please follow and like us: